Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring an in-depth look at communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “Up Close and Personal” post, we feature Pam Jenkins, president of Powell Tate and president of Weber Shandwick Mid-Atlantic (Washington, Baltimore and Atlanta). Photography for the series is by Cade Martin; wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.
Pam, tell us a bit about your job:
As president of global public affairs at Weber Shandwick, I am responsible for shaping the vision and growth strategies for the agency’s global PA network. As the former president of Powell Tate, a division of Weber Shandwick, I was responsible for the agency’s reputation and growth. For the past 25 years, I’ve specialized in healthcare communications and continue to counsel corporate, nonprofit and government clients in the healthcare arena. I also oversee the D.C., Baltimore and Southwestern offices.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I’m a member of the PRSA-NCC chapter, a member of Washington Women in Public Relations, a member of the Council of PR Firms and I’m on the Board of Directors of Maryland Rush.
What are the things you are most proud of?
Leading the transformation of Powell Tate into Washington’s premier public affairs firm and recognized best place to work while raising three terrific girls.
Who have been your personal role models?
I’ve had strong, nurturing role models throughout my career, starting with Patricia Bario, former White House deputy press secretary, who gave me my first job in public affairs back in 1986. She was a no-nonsense counselor and former reporter with keen political instincts who taught me to under promise and over deliver – and to have fun doing it. And then 10 years under Marcia Silverman, who ran Ogilvy PR Washington (and ultimately became CEO), who championed my career and passions and made it possible for me to raise three young girls while working full time; and, for the past 10 years, Ranny Cooper, who is a savvy strategist, a tough, tireless and fair leader, a trusted friend, and a relentless advocate for creating leadership opportunities for women in politics and business.
What professional advice can you offer others?
Surround yourself by people smarter than you. Never underestimate the power of a simple idea. Follow your passions so that work is also pleasure. And, help others along the way.
What’s the proper attire for your employees to wear to work?
Our staff is incredibly diverse – which we encourage and celebrate. On any given day, you’ll spot suits and ties, jeans, Converse and bowling shirts. Other than a ban on flip flops, torn jeans and t-shirts, we have a personality-driven dress code. For clients that expect formality, we adapt accordingly.
And where do you buy your clothes?
With three active daughters, husband and an insane schedule, Nordstrom has served as our family one-stop shop. And my Penn Quarter office location gives me lots of options for dealing with unexpected, last-minute wardrobe needs.
Is there anything else people should know about you?
I came to Washington from Colorado back in the mid-80s, planning to get my master’s degree in Russian studies at Georgetown, with the goal of becoming The New York Times bureau chief in Moscow. But when my summer freelance writing job at a small public affairs firm turned into an offer to become a full-time account executive, I jumped on it and discovered my true calling. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have great mentors, smart and creative colleagues and top-tier clients. Over more than 25 years, I’ve changed jobs only twice.